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New Orleans Jazz Festival canceled amid surge in COVID-19 cases in Louisiana

The music has died in New Orleans, at least for October, as the nation’s rising number of Delta variant cases has led to the cancellation of one of the city’s biggest annual attractions next to Mardi Gras.

Organizers on Monday announced the cancellation of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, citing in a post on the festival’s website, “the current exponential growth of new COVID cases in New Orleans and the region.” It is the second year in a row the annual music festival has been snuffed out by the pandemic. 

Headliners for this year’s event — which usually draws half a million visitors to the Crescent City — were to include musical artists and bands ranging from Stevie Nicks and H.E.R. to the Foo Fighters, Nora Jones, Elvis Costello, Wu-Tang Clan and Jon Batiste. In a tweet on July 24, the festival announced the addition of the Rolling Stones, for which it had added an unprecedented extra day to the two-weekend event, which earlier this year had been rescheduled for October from its original dates in spring.

Ticket holders for the 2021 festival will be sent an email with details on refunds or rollovers, according to the cancellation post. Next year’s event is scheduled for April 29 to May 8, 2022.

“In the meantime, we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials, so that we can all soon experience together the joy that is Jazz Fest,” organizers said. 

The Jazz Fest’s cancellation comes just as COVID cases in Louisiana have skyrocketed. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 6,100 new cases as of Monday. Public health officials say the state’s low vaccination rate is partly to blame for the spike. 

Canceling the festival means the New Orleans region will miss out on an estimated $300 million in economic impact the event brings annually. 

The Delta variant is responsible for the nation’s exponential surge, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is reminding Americans that the COVID-19 vaccines do work. While a recent outbreak of breakthrough cases has shown the Delta variant to be particularly strong and contagious, the low number of vaccinated people falling seriously ill shows the vaccines are “effective against hospitalization and death,” according to the CDC.

The growing spread of coronavirus cases has also forced organizers to cancel the New York International Auto Show. The annual show is typically the biggest convention gathering in New York City each year, drawing more than 1 million visitors to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan for a multiday event that generates millions of dollars in revenue for local businesses.

Concerns over the Delta variant have not deterred bikers, however, who rumbled into South Dakota on Friday for the start of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The 10-day gathering, now in its 81st year, is expected to draw as many as 700,000 visitors to the small town of 7,000, generating an estimated $800 million in sales for the local economy.



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